Ireland is at a crossroads … a watershed … on the brink. There are so many metaphors for a moment that could change everything.
When it comes to the value of life in this country, this is not just alarmist rhetoric. Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since the achievement of independence in 1922. Equal protection for pregnant women and their unborn children was further enshrined in the Constitution of Ireland in 1983.
Right now, legislators are debating a bill that would make empty words out of those protections. Legislators know that people don’t like crossroads, watersheds, and brinks. They like “compromise” and “clarification of the law.” Irish law already allows for early delivery of pre-term fetuses if necessary to save the life of the mother. Essentially, the bill at hand seeks to equate risk of suicide with life-threatening medical crises, thereby making abortion legal for a woman who can convince psychiatrists that she intends to end her own life if her pregnancy continues. They are effectively “compromising” and “clarifying” us over the cliff of state-sanctioned, targeted killing of innocent life, and there will be no going back.
Any reasonable person realizes this bill has nothing whatsoever to do with suicidal pregnant women, and is rather a mere opportunity to introduce legal abortion to Ireland for the first time. Once exceptions to abortion prohibition are made legal on mental health grounds, there is no objective way to deny them to anyone. Ireland must learn from the history of other nations who ended up farther down down this road than most people (even abortion advocates) thought was possible. There is a straight line between this crack in the foundation of Ireland’s life-valuing ethos and butchers like Kermit Gosnell.
Okay…take a breath.
I am admitting, here and now, that my first reaction to this is to absolutely freak out. It is easy and natural for me to see that abortion is horrific. It takes no great faith for me to volunteer my time at Pro-Life Campaign Ireland, or ask people to sign petitions for Youth Defence. I re-post articles on social media, and update friends about current legislation because … well, because I want to. I am not ashamed. I believe I am honoring God’s word on these matters, and I invite you to do things like these, too.
However, there are some things that God has asked us to do, that are not natural and easy at all – at least not for me. I didn’t intend to go this direction when I started writing this article, but I need your prayers. I need prayer because in addition to standing up for the weakest in this world, God has also commanded us to:
… be humble.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)
(Read in your best beauty contestant voice:) “I would say, that my biggest struggle is to be, like, humble, because it’s really hard to be humble when you’re as great as me.”
Okay, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that when it comes to the abortion argument, I feel so right … so righteous … so proud to be on the right side of this battle. Sometimes I forget that I am in need of a Savior, just as much as Carhart or Darty. I fall into the trap of thinking they’re the “bad guys” and I’m with the “good guys.” I forget that He is the only good guy, and without him, we’re all the bad guys.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9)
It’s not as if Jesus and his apostles were not familiar with people who preyed on the weak and committed atrocities. In fact, King Herod might have had Peter Singer’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather as his royal ethicist. Yet the Bible still does not give us any exceptions to the command to love everyone. That doesn’t mean we agree with or ignore them. The incredibly difficult challenge we face is to stand up against what they are doing, without hating them. In fact, Jesus says we must find the strength to love each and every one of them.
… not worry.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
I always applied that verse to worrying about unpaid bills and career decisions, but it applies to my abortion-apocalypse fretting, too. People, even those in high places, are not powerful enough to derail God’s plans. I truly believe that the devaluing of life can lead to societal collapse (cf. the Roman Empire). I don’t want that to happen, and I will fight against it. However, if the worst does happen, we must know that God will not fail in his promises. We love Ireland, but we do have “dual citizenship.”
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:19-21)
Even now, I worry – strike that – I wonder if the second half of this article will make you forget the first.
Let’s pray for one another as we find our balance on the tightrope between rage and complacence. Let’s humbly, without hate or worry, take action.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Editor’s Note: This article was first published at The Church of Christ in Galway blog on May 8, 2013. It is reprinted with permission of the author.